Young Writers Cohort

Photo by Kino McFarland

Are you a high school student who is devoted to improving your craft and wants to find others like you? If so, the Young Writers Cohort at Hugo House was established with you in mind!

Cohort members meet every other week with each other and their instructor to learn, practice, and grow as a writing community. This program offers an MFA-like experience, in which members devote 80+ hours over the course of 8 months to workshopping, studying contemporary literature, submitting work to literary presses and journals, and attending readings and events. The Cohorts are responsible for promoting and emceeing Stage Fright, our open mic event for youth, and supporting other youth initiatives at Hugo House and in the Seattle arts community. 

Cohort members are selected based on a written application and a writing sample. There is no application fee or tuition involved. We are looking for youth who have a strong commitment to writing and who have a desire to work in a collaborative team environment. No prior experience in a similar program is needed. The application is open to writers of all interests, levels of experience, and backgrounds. In addition, the Young Writer’s Cohort actively seeks out youth who represent diverse and/or unique voices, and we highly encourage youth to apply whose voices are often underrepresented in mainstream media. 

Commitment Requirements: 

  • Be a writer! Spend 8 months writing and revising new work, attending readings and events, researching literary journals and presses, and more. 
  • Be present! Attend biweekly Cohort meetings after school. Build community with the other young writers in your Cohort and with young writers/artists in the local community by participating in events.
  • Be a community leader! Attend and emcee Stage Fright open mic nights, read your work at literary events, attend other youth and/or literary arts events in your area.
  • Be committed to your Cohort throughout the school year. Show up, participate, and have fun!

Cohort focus:

The 2021-2022 school year is offering three different Cohorts to which you may apply:

The Poetry Cohort with Arianne True is for Seattle-area aspiring poets who want to deepen their poetic skills and build community with each other while learning about both writing itself and all the other things that go into being a working writer. The Poetry Cohort will begin the 2021-2022 school year online using Zoom, but hopes to transition to in-person meetings in January 2022, pending the local status of Covid-19.

2020-2021 Meeting Dates (Tuesdays 4PM-6PM):*

  • October 5th & 19th  
  • November 2nd, & 16th
  • December 7th 
  • January 4th & 18th  
  • February 1st & 15th
  • March 1st, 15th, 29th
  • April 19th  
  • May 3rd & 17th

The Prose Cohort with Ramon Isao isn’t just a place to write fiction/nonfiction, but conduct wild literary experiments, play in a creative space, and take comfort in a  small literary community The Prose Cohort will begin the 2021-2022 school year online using Zoom, but hopes to transition to in-person meetings in January 2022, pending the local status of Covid-19.

2021-2022 Meeting Dates (Mondays 4PM-6PM):*

  • October 4th & 18th  
  • November 1st, 15th, 29th
  • December 13th  
  • January 10th & 31st  
  • February 14th
  • March 7th & 21st
  • April 4th & 25th
  • May 9th & 23rd  

The Online Cohort with Karen Finneyfrock is open to writers who want to explore various forms of creative writing including fiction, poetry, memoir, and hybrid forms. This Cohort will meet on Zoom throughout the Cohort year and is specifically for writers who live outside of the Seattle area and/or are unable to meet in-person.

2021-2022 Meeting Dates (Tuesdays 4PM-6PM):*

  • October 12th & 26th  
  • November 9th & 30th
  • December 14th  
  • January 11th & 25th
  • February 8th
  • March 1st, 8th, 22nd
  • April 5th & 26th
  • May 10th & 24th

*The Prose and Poetry Cohorts are intended for Seattle-area writers who are able to attend in-person meetings, pending Covid-19 safety protocols. Do not apply for these Cohorts if you are unable to attend in-person. All Cohort meeting dates are subject to change. This page will be updated until August 9, 2021, when the posted dates will be final.

Applications for the 2021-2022 Young Writer’s Cohort can be accessed via Submittable on August 9, 2021, and are due no later September 6, 2021**. Students will be notified by September 24 about their acceptance into Cohort. (What is Submittable and why do we use it? Submittable is a platform for submitting applications and writing materials! Many writing-focused organizations (nonprofits, magazines, journals, etc.) use Submittable, and as you move forward in your writing career, you will likely use your Submittable account often to submit your writing!)

**Applications for the in-person Poetry Cohort are still open! You can submit an application for this Cohort through Sunday, September 12th at midnight PST. We are no longer accepting any more applications for the Prose and Online Cohorts.

The Young Writers Cohort is an unpaid, humanities-focused volunteer opportunity. Participation can be used as a personal or academic project. For any questions, please email